U.S. Supreme Court Rejects DOMA and California’s Proposition 8
June 27, 2013
By Randy Taylor
Public Relations officer, Libertarian Party of Florida
On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court made a decision based on the liberty of individuals and the right of states to determine laws regarding same-sex marriage. In separate 5-4 votes, the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, was declared unconstitutional; and Proposition 8 from California was kicked back to the state as the Court determined that supporters of it did not have the right to appeal the decision that it was unconstitutional by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Libertarians applaud this decision, but realize that a state-by-state battle for marriage equality is upon us.
The Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of DOMA, which defined marriage only as a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and defined a spouse only as a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion and stated, “The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the state, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity.”
California’s Proposition 8, which was passed by voters in 2008, stated that, “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” This was a response to the California Supreme Court’s decision that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.
Putting it back to the states, the federal government will now recognize the recipients of federal benefits to all those persons who are legally married, regardless of gender. However, Florida voters approved an amendment to ban same-sex marriage in 2008, making our state one of 30 that has determined it to be illegal. Any attempt to overturn this will require at least 60% voter approval. The fight will continue in our state, thus committing financial and legislative resources to an issue that should not burden Floridians.
This also highlights that this is a fight for entitlements as a new group of recipients is now created. Americans who are single or are unmarried couples do not deserve discrimination in comparison to married couples. Libertarians do not support a definition of marriage or the granting of rights and benefits to one group over others. Government should not be in the marriage business at all and should not subsidize or support married couples while leaving others without. Freedom comes when government gets out of the bedroom and out of citizens’ bank accounts, including the distribution of benefits.
The Libertarian Party believes that government has no authority to define, license, or restrict personal relationships; and that sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity should have no impact on the government’s treatment of individuals, such as in current marriage laws. We have been fighting for these rights for decades while Democrats and Republicans looked the other way and passed DOMA in 1996 and we will continue in each state until the right of marriage is realized for everyone.